By Miriam Walsh
Remember the art project our kids made when their hands were small and chubby? Even craft-challenged moms like me could have success in using a pen to trace their sweet little hands on construction paper. Then together we would adorn the paper fingers with feathers and the thumb with a candy corn beak and black licorice hat. Draw in some feet and—voila—it’s a perfect turkey.
As the kids get older they soon learn to trace their own hands and the designs that could be made from a traced hand seem endless. Whether it was macaroni shells or dried beans or watercolor paints the end result was always original and somewhat of an adventure in creativity to achieve a satisfying result.
Kids eventually outgrow turkey crafts but really our job of tracing hands remains a vital one. Not physically, but spiritually. We have the privilege of helping them to learn to trace the hand of God working in their lives.
The clues are already present and we can help our kids look back over the events of their lives and see patterns in what God has done in order to help them make future decisions. For example, my older son and I were talking about spiritual gifts and he was thoroughly confused about his. I said, “Look back over the last four years of your life. God has placed you in numerous leadership positions at church and school. You don’t seek it out but leadership roles seem to find you. That’s the hand of God preparing you for what is to come.” When someone reminds us of the big picture, traces of God’s work are visible. It helped him to relax into the unknown of what God is presently doing in his life. Like the story of Joseph, things make a lot more sense in hind sight!
Another way to help kids see God at work in their lives is to share with them ways God has protected them. First Peter 1:5 tells us that we are being shielded by God’s power because of our faith. One translation uses the word guarded instead of shielded. When Luke was very young he had to participate in a piano recital. He was so afraid because he didn’t know any of the other kids and parents were not allowed. So I prayed. I asked God to allow him to feel the comforting presence of an angel. When he came home he said, “Things went okay. I felt like I was being guarded by an angel.” He had no idea what I had prayed! But God did.
Tracing the hand of God for and with our kids helps them develop trust and gratitude for what God is doing in their lives. The God whose hand we trace is the same God who takes us by the hand and keeps us (Isaiah 42:6). It is His hand that leads us and His right hand that holds us (Psalm 139:10).
What are some ways you have traced the hand of God in your kids’ lives?